Ignite return to The DLC with first home win in over a month
After a month-long break away from its home venue, a returning NBA G League Ignite team returned to The Dollar Loan Center and treated fans with a double-digit win.
In another comeback effort, the Ignite beat the Iowa Wolves, 125-110, Monday, Feb. 27 from The Dollar Loan Center. The win ends a four-game losing streak for this year’s developmental team.
In addition, it ends a four-game home losing streak for the club returning home after 32 days away. Prior to Monday, the team’s last home win came back on Jan. 10. As a result, the Ignite are now 4-7 at home this year.
“It feels good [since] we’ve been sleeping in hotels,” head coach Jason Hart said. “That’s the tough part because you wish you could be at home in your own bed. When we’re gone on the road, the good thing is it's a lot of bonding time because all you’ve got is your teammates.”
Prior to returning home, the team went on a six-game road trip with the All-Star break taking place before the final two games.
Overall, the team is now 8-13 on the year and currently slotted in the 11th spot in the Western Conference. It will complete the second half of a back-to-back when the team hosts Iowa again Tuesday, Feb. 28. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.
“I’ve sat here with a lot of losses,” Hart said. “That’s the whole part about the development – where they start in November, they never end that way. These dudes are going to keep on growing because they’re young in their basketball development and this is what it looks like in March.”
This season, the team is 2-5 in the second game of back-to-backs.
“For the young guys, back-to-backs are tough,” Hart said. “They’re tough for NBA guys. That’s why the bench came in today and did a great job for us. Hopefully, tomorrow you can rely more on the starters.”
The Ignite used a 22-8 run between the third and fourth quarters to take a stranglehold of an otherwise up-for-grabs contest. The start of the run allowed the team to take a six-point lead into the final quarter of play.
When leading after three quarters this year, the Ignite are 8-5 on the year.
Iowa built a lead as large as 11 points in the first quarter, racing away on a 13-2 run early in the frame.
Guard Sidy Cissoko sparked a big counterpunching run from the home team, embarking on a 13-4 run. As a result, Cissoko poured in 10 first quarter points on his way to 22 points on the night.
“Sidy can do it all,” forward Leonard Miller said. “He’s a team player. Doing it on the defensive end – he dives all in, he can do it for any team. On offense, he’s a heck of a player too – he’s always been like this. Now, he’s just doing a bit more.”
Cissoko shot 8-of-17 from the field with four made three-pointers. He added an exclamation point to his performance with a one-hand soaring dunk through the chest of an Iowa big man on a play that started with a beautiful behind-the-back crossover. That play would be negated after being ruled a charge.
That original 13-4 Ignite run was stretched to 31-18 in the second quarter as the team was able to climb back on top by two points.
By the final buzzer, this game totaled 24 lead changes and eight ties. Furthermore, the vast majority of the game saw both teams hover eerily close to each other in most statistical categories including points in the paint and free throws made.
The difference-maker between two teams wasn’t decided until late when the Ignite were able to build a +9 advantage on the rebounds.
Miller led all Ignite players with a team-high 24 points to go along with 12 rebounds. He now has 10 double-doubles on the year including six straight.
“I was very impressed by his performance,” Hart said. “Over the last month, he’s really been balling. This is just what he’s been doing, this is normal for him now. He’s got to continue because he’s going to get the minutes and he’s producing.”
On another note, he did pick up a technical foul for a second straight game.
The Ignite’s bench mob was led by guards Cameron Young and London Johnson who both scored 16 points respectively.
Young entered the game and provided instant offense as his role typically calls for this group, scoring 10 points in his first eight minutes on-the-court.
“Cam’s been great,” Miller said. “He’s also a great teammate. He gives us a great spark and great energy and great leadership off-the-bench. He gets it, he just goes in and gets the job done. We’re lucky to have him on our team.”
Young scored his 16 points on 50% shooting from the floor.
Johnson went perfect en route to his 16-point outing, nailing all six of his shot attempts including two made threes. Fellow guard Mojave King also went perfect from the field, racking up 14 points on 3-of-3 from the field including two made threes with a 3-for-3 mark from the free throw line.
Projected No. 2 overall pick Scoot Henderson flirted with a triple-double once again with 14 points, nine rebounds and nine assists. Late in regulation, Henderson hit a pair of threes to keep the game out of reach.
Fellow starting guard John Jenkins had another rough shooting night going 3-for-10 from the field, missing all three of his long ball attempts, in limited minutes.